Steps of Love is a US-based nonprofit organization run entirely by volunteers. Recognizing the need for local presence in the communities we benefit, Steps of Love partners with AIM Peñasco (short for Asistencia Integral para Menores de Puerto Peñasco), a Mexican civil association run by local community members.

Steps of Love was incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Arizona in November 2012. The Board of Directors signed and accepted the bylaws of the organization on March 22, 2013. On July 24th, 2013 the IRS approved our application to become a 501(c)(3) public charity under tax ID 46-1557787.
AIM Peñasco, the Mexican Civil Association, was founded in February 2016 by board member Kathleen Duncan. A local board of directors (junta directiva) was formed out of Mexican community leaders. In July 2017, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Steps of Love and AIM Peñasco as a way to formalize the partnership and to unify the mission of both organizations.

OUR EXECUTIVE TEAM

Kathleen Duncan; AIM Peñasco / Steps of Love Liaison

Kathleen attended University of Arizona where she met her husband Arnott who is a 4th generation Arizona farmer.  After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1983, Kathleen followed Arnott to Goodyear, AZ where she received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology at Arizona State University. In 1982 Kathleen and Arnott founded Duncan Family Farms and while Arnott focused on operating the farm Kathleen spent most of her career working with vulnerable children and families in Arizona.

In September of 2012 Kathleen decided she wanted to find a way to give back to the community of Rocky Point, Mexico where her family have been vacationing for 25 years. She began volunteering at the newly opened Amores de Peñasco Children’s Crisis Shelter and spent the next three years  traveling from her home in Buckeye, AZ to spend 2-3 days per week supporting the children there. In 2015 Kathleen and Arnott decided they wanted to try to expand their efforts to help young people in need in Rocky Point so they formed a Mexican Civil Association called ‘Asistencia Integral para Menores de Puerto Penasco’ (Comprehensive Support for Children of Rocky Point). In August of 2016 they used their Civil Association to launch a program to help at-risk young people in the community have access to educational opportunities that can transform their lives. In just the first year their program provided ongoing comprehensive support for 72 students and it continues to grow and help more students each year go to school and succeed academically. Kathleen joined the Board of Steps of Love in June of 2013. 

Karina (Lungo) Jones

Karina was born in El Salvador, Central America. She holds a Masters degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Arizona State University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Murcia, Spain. Karina has vast international experience: after obtaining her undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and International Business at Harding University, Arkansas, she joined Procter and Gamble where she worked for 14 years as Service Leader and Project Manager. With Procter & Gamble, she traveled to almost every country in Latin America, an experience that allowed her to appreciate the cultural diversity of the American continents and to relate to the needs of the Hispanic population.

In 2012, Karina started a new adventure by exploring the social sector while obtaining her degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. These studies equipped her with the knowledge needed to organize and formalize Steps of Love as a nonprofit organization. In 2012 she incorporated Steps of Love as a nonprofit organization in the State of Arizona and in 2013 her application for a 501(c)(3) was granted. Karina works full-time for Arizona State University and serves Steps of Love on a volunteer basis. Karina and her family live in Gilbert, Arizona.

OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Jeff Skoglind; President and Board of Directors, Chairman

Jeff was born and raised in WI (Oshkosh) and attended the University of Wisconsin earning a BS with majors in Psychology and Political Science. He later added coursework from Wharton Business School’s program in Executive Education.He began his 40-year career in retailing in 1974 with the largest department store chain in the US. Thirty five of his professional years were in Human Resources including:- Sr. VP for American Eagle Outfitters, and- EVP for Victoria’s Secret.Both experiences were times of rapid growth with the sales quadrupling (AE) and increasing ten-fold (VS).

Attracting and developing the talent within organizations is what challenges and rewards Jeff professionally. With his wife of 32 years (Patt), they moved two households (Manhattan and Pittsburgh, PA) to Scottsdale in 2007. One daughter (attorney) resides with her husband in Boston and the younger (Speech & Language Pathologist) is closer to home in Phoenix. Patt is a business professor at NAU. Jeff is immensely proud of his family & their accomplishments. He often jokes about being the least educated of the clan. Jeff has devoted time to organizations that touch his heart or passions throughout his life, including: Habitat for Humanity (volunteer), National Assault Prevention Center (Board), Columbus (OH) Ballet Met (Board), Ohio State University-Fisher School of Business (Advisory Board), Pittsburgh Glass Institute (Board), Foothills Food Bank (volunteer & Board). He retired in June 2014 and is now able to devote more of his time to charitable organizations.

Cyndi Connelly; Treasurer

Cyndi grew up in Iowa and graduated from the University of South Dakota with a degree in Accounting. She worked for many years as a CPA, holding staff and management positions in audit, accounting, and finance with Deloitte, Trans World Airlines, and American Airlines. Cyndi has traveled extensively and has a passion for learning about different cultures and people. She has a heart for serving those in need and inspiring others to do the same. She volunteers extensively with her church and recently completed a three year term as Mission Elder. During that time she organized and led numerous local and international outreach activities, including biannual mission trips to Puerto Peñasco (Rocky Point), MX.

Cyndi is married to Gordon and they have two sons who attend Georgia Tech and Stanford. Cyndi and Gordon live in Scottsdale, AZ, and also have a condo in Rocky Point. Cyndi is committed to giving back to the Puerto Peñasco community which she considers to be her second home.

David Baker; Secretary

David Baker, a native of Virginia, currently resides in Gilbert, AZ with his wife (a registered nurse) of 40 years. They have two daughters, one a nurse and the other a pharmaceutical representative. Both daughters are married and reside in Chicago, IL. They are further blessed with two granddaughters. David received his undergraduate degree from Lincoln Memorial University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. David spent 41 years in the healthcare field before retiring in April of 2014. Most recently, he was the CEO of Home Care/Hospice of Banner Health System.

Prior to that, David served as the Regional Executive Director at St. John Home Care and Genesys Home Care in Detroit, Mich. and as the Manager of Consulting for Ernst & Young in Chicago, IL. Since retiring, he has been focused on finding opportunities to give back by helping others who are in need. In addition to his role with Steps of Love, David volunteers as a business development leader for a community clinic serving migrants and uninsured in Chandler, AZ and is working as a mentor for entrepreneurs developing start-up health care non-profit businesses in South Carolina and Texas.

Anthony Smith; Member at Large

Anthony Smith grew up in Indiana where he graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree. Anthony spent much of his professional career working in the electric utility and the telecommunications industry.Smith obtained certification from the Project Management Association as a Project Management Professional (PMP) in 1995. In 1997, Anthony Smith moved his family from Illinois to Arizona to work for Motorola.Anthony Smith won election to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors in November 2012.

Prior to his election as Supervisor, Anthony Smith served as one of the original members of Maricopa’s Planning and Zoning Commission and two terms as the Mayor of the City of Maricopa. Supervisor Smith currently represents Pinal County District #4. After moving to Maricopa in 2003, Anthony Smith was instrumental in helping to create or establish five non-profits. Anthony has a heart for the value non-profits bring to communities and continues to promote their causes. Supervisor Smith currently resides with his wife Nancy in the City of Maricopa.

Brittannia Blanchard; Member at Large

Britty was born in Panama and received a Bachelor of Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to moving to Arizona, she lived in Illinois, North Carolina, and Florida. While she lived in Florida, Britty spent some time as a Guardian Ad Litem, as a volunteer advocate for abused children and also spent time volunteering to feed the homeless. She is a mother and she believes in the importance of love, education, and stability in a child’s life.

She has worked in the medical field most of her professional life and for the last 10 years has been the manager of a multi-specialty doctors’ practice located in Arizona. Britty believes in paying forward the good that comes into one’s life. She and her staff have been fundraising for women and children causes since 2003.

Niki Ramirez; Member at Large

Niki Ramirez, a Minnesota transplant, came to Arizona in 1995 to attend Arizona State University where she studied Spanish literature and business. Niki went on to obtain a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management from the University of Phoenix, and she holds dual human resource professional certifications. Niki is the founder and principal consultant at HR Answers LLC, a human resources consulting firm focusing on helping clients achieve success through designing and implementing effective HR programs.

In September of 2012 Kathleen decided she wanted to find a way to give back to the community of Rocky Point, Mexico where her family have been vacationing for 25 years. She began volunteering at the newly opened Amores de Peñasco Children’s Crisis Shelter and spent the next three years  traveling from her home in Buckeye, AZ to spend 2-3 days per week supporting the children there. In 2015 Kathleen and Arnott decided they wanted to try to expand their efforts to help young people in need in Rocky Point so they formed a Mexican Civil Association called ‘Asistencia Integral para Menores de Puerto Penasco’ (Comprehensive Support for Children of Rocky Point). In August of 2016 they used their Civil Association to launch a program to help at-risk young people in the community have access to educational opportunities that can transform their lives. In just the first year their program provided ongoing comprehensive support for 72 students and it continues to grow and help more students each year go to school and succeed academically. Kathleen joined the Board of Steps of Love in June of 2013.